History of the Church

JPI 613/848

The aim of this course is to familiarize students with the historical unfolding of the life and mission of the Church. The Church is "in history, but at the same time she transcends it. It is only 'with the eyes of faith' that one can see her in her visible reality and at the same time in her spiritual reality as the bearer of divine life" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 770). Following an introductory reflection on the nature of the Church and the relationship between time and eternity, the course will consider some of the key events in the life of the Church, such as the apostolic witness and the development of the canon of Scripture, the Trinitarian and Christological controversies of the fourth and fifth centuries, the development of monasticism, the tragic split between East and West, medieval theology and the rise of universities, the Protestant reformation, the Church's encounter with the Enlightenment, and the First and Second Vatican Councils. Readings include primary sources from the Church Fathers, conciliar documents, and Robert L. Wilken's The First Thousand Years: A Global History of Christianity.


Course Texts for Fall 2020

  • Christology of the Later Fathers. Library of Christian Classics. Ed. Edward R. Hardy. John Knox Press.
  • Guy Bedouelle, The Reform of Catholicism, 1480-1620. PIMS, 2008.
  • Christopher Dawson, Religion and the Rise of Western Culture. Doubleday, 1991.
  • Alexander Schmemann. The Historical Road of Eastern Orthodoxy. St Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1997.

Associated Faculty

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